“My mom always thought I was just a Tomboy.”

One transgender student’s experience

Tara Bubenas, Writer

Today, I interviewed a good friend of mine named Felix. Felix has had an amazing journey through life. Felix is a trans man who has gone through an incredible transformation. I asked him some questions about his transition and how it’s affected his life. He’s a student here at Central. A senior, to be exact. He’s short, about 5’5 with blue hair that is mostly just brown roots. He wears baggy clothes and tends to keep to himself. He seems unassuming at first, but let’s take a closer look.

“Who are you, Felix?” I asked.

He jokingly answered that he was a “rat” demonstrating his sharp sense of humor. He then hesitated for a long time, continuing to joke as he searched for answers. “I see myself as quiet, unless I’m with someone. Then I’m terrifyingly loud. I have like…eight personalities.”

My first real question was, “How hard was your transition?”

“Socially, extremely, especially with my parents,” Felix states, “It was especially hard to look in the mirror and find myself… to believe in myself.” He struggled with identity and feeling “wrong” his whole life, ever since elementary school.

“What were some of the early signs that you were trans?”

He began by stating that he would refuse to “dress like a girl” even from a young age. Felix walked around shirtless like his older brothers. When he would play pretend or house at school, he would want to play as a male. “I would break down and cry and leave the group if…my friend was like ‘no you can’t do that, you’re a girl.’ That like…that broke me. I never felt right. I always knew something was wrong…but why?” He seemed almost saddened by relaying the memories, as if reliving them was painful. He added, “My mom always thought I was just a Tomboy.”

“What do you feel when you look at photos of yourself pre-transition?”

Felix started his response with a gag. He immediately said “Nausea. It’s not me. It feels like there’s another person wearing my skin.” He explained he felt like he had been trapped in a costume for years. Something no one would like. However, he soon opened his mind and discovered himself.

After the reaction from the last question, I wanted to lighten the mood. I asked, “How good did it feel cutting off your waist length hair?”

He sounded beyond relieved. “Oh my god. It felt amazing. When I looked in the mirror I cried. Tears of joy.”

I followed up with “Did you finally feel as if your skin wasn’t a costume?”

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the happiest answer: “No, because I still feel like that today.” Felix stated, “I just feel a bit more comfortable.”

He’s expressed to me previously that he felt wrong all of elementary school. Felix had always sat alone by a tree or played as a boy during recess. Even alone, he never felt like he fit in. There were missing pieces. He explained that the reality for most trans people is you never will truly feel complete without intervention.

I decided to get a bit deeper. “How has being transgender affected your mental health?”

With a bit of hesitation, Felix nervously laughed at me and answered; “I don’t show up to school. Being transgender in general comes with these things.” He described it as a package deal. It tends to come with a host of mental illnesses. “It got better after I came out. I’m no longer pretending to be someone I’m not…living a double life…but it will always be horrible.” Felix laughed as we got sidetracked and showed me his attendance, “I have the amount of days present as you’re supposed to have absent.”

“Is there anything I should know or anything you want to close with?”

He took a sip of his water, genuinely contemplating for a moment. “What a lot of people don’t understand is this isn’t a choice. It’s hard. I can’t imagine people wanting to live like this. It hurts.” For the first time the entire interview, he seemed almost solemn. However, he laughed at the end. “My last sentence:‘Yeah, that.’”

Felix concluded our conversation with this message: “I want more people to understand. Not everyone will, but it’s important knowledge… More people should be taught about [gender identity]. It’s not talked about enough, that leads to uneducated people.”